2016 garden design trend forecast

Top garden experts share with Gardens Illustrated their design trend forecast for 2016. 


With an increasing awareness of the complex yet vital role nature plays in our lives, how do garden designers see this reflected in what we want for our gardens? Here is their trend forecast for 2016. 


James Basson

Garden designer, scapedesign.com

In general, garden design is moving towards a more ecological, sustainable approach. We are looking to use more original species in our plant choices rather than the past obsession with hybridisation. Equally, with hard landscaping, designers want a more sustainable, locally sourced material that will sit comfortably within a designed landscape.


Annie Guilfoyle

KLC School of Design, klc.co.uk

This isn’t so much a prediction as a New Year wish for greater awareness of hellstrip planting. Widely practised in the USA, it involves planting up that unattractive area between the pavement and the road with tough, ground-cover plants. It’s such a brilliant way to brighten up the urban landscape.


Andrew Fisher Tomlin

LCGD, lcgd.org.uk

One of the big trends now taking space in our design psyche is the revival of the town square as a green community meeting place. It’s a natural progression from our interest in pocket parks and neighbourhood gardens and is now more often privately funded for large, new developments.


Chris Beardshaw

Garden designer, chrisbeardshaw.co.uk

Garden and landscapes can be guilty of being driven by the ego and self indulgence of a designer. However, we are increasingly experiencing clients who appreciate and have a sound understanding of the need to marry the role of ambition, aesthetics and a strong emotional connection when seeking a design solution for their gardens.


Matt Keightley

Garden designer, rosebank.co.uk

As the popularity of ‘instant gardening’ continues to grow, mature specimen trees will come into their own, being used as art forms and isolated focal points in both small and large spaces. In terms of hard landscaping, there is a move to using standard products, such as the countless varieties of stone products on the market, in more creative and innovative ways. 


Mary Keen

Garden designer and writer

Formal gardens, thank goodness, do seem to be on the wane and while clients still want some showy borders for their money, they are often happy with a wilder, more naturalistic look everywhere else. Long-flowering plants and shrubs, which need less tending, continue to be increasingly popular.


Adam Frost

Garden designer, adamfrost.co.uk

I have been adding and will continue to add more edibles to my planting. However, not just in an obvious way but inter-planted with ornamentals. I’m also looking at foraging and really trying to connect people with their gardens in a different way, giving them an everyday relationship with nature.


Sarah Eberle

Garden designer, saraheberle.com

Clients are becoming more emotionally linked to their gardens and the landscape they sit in, whether located in rural or urban environments. Planting relates to place and the character of the setting. The love affair with hybridisation is over, replaced by an appreciation of the simplicity of native forms and their natural beauty. A return to Romanticism.


Rosemary Alexander

English Gardening School, englishgardeningschool.co.uk

We are seeing the return of rockeries in the form, for example, of crevice planting with slabs of thin rock laid edge on into the ground with alpines and precious small plants grown in between.  



Andrew Duff

Inchbald School of Design, inchbald.co.uk






  • Using only the colour green
  • Native planting
  • Defined garden boundaries
  • Intrigue
  • Loose planting
  • The revival of the rose
  • Use of materials from the local area


  • Alliums
  • Weeping trees
  • Corten steel
  • Manicured lawns
  • Exterior upholstery
  • Buxus balls   
  • Three or more materials in one space


Taken from a longer feature in the January 2016 issue of Gardens Illustrated.


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